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New To The Table. The Play of the Hand.

-850 or + 200?

One of those will be the result of our action to double 5H in the following auction. Do you remember the problem?

West Deals
Both Vul
   
J 6 5
J 8 7 4
K 10 7 5 3
Q
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
A K 9 7 4 2
A 5 3
9
J 7 6
West North East South
dummy     you
Pass Pass 1  1 
2  3  4  4 
Pass Pass 5  Dbl
All pass      

 

We led Spade-smallA and saw East ruff that… bad news! Next came the Heart-smallK from East which we won with our ace and our partner discarded a low not encouraging club. Which card did you lead to trick 3?

What we need

We need two more tricks to defeat this contract. If partner held the Club-smallA, we would still need another trick. It is possible (though they did not encourage a club switch) but that would already give our partner Club-smallSpade-smallQJ and what with their heart void, they may have little more to bid 3Spade-small.

So, we had better look to the diamond suit. Either Diamond-smallAQ or Diamond-smallA followed by a diamond ruff will be good enough. Our diamond it is… and as long as partner can win their ace and return the suit, we will beat the contract:

West Deals
Both Vul
Q 10 8 3
A J 8 4
10 9 5 4 2
J 6 5
J 8 7 4
K 10 7 5 3
Q
 
N
W   E
S
 
K Q 10 9 6 2
Q 6 2
A K 8 3
 
A K 9 7 4 2
A 5 3
9
J 7 6
West North East South
Pass Pass 1  1 
2  3  4  4 
Pass Pass 5  Dbl
All pass      

 

That is what happened and we recorded +200. Meanwhile, there are 3 club losers in 5Spade-small.

Interestingly, an alternative defence to 5Heart-small is to lead your singleton. The idea is if your partner does not hold the Diamond-smallA, you can win with your Heart-smallA and either lead to ace in partner's hand or underlead your Spade-smallAK to partner’s Spade-smallQ to secure your ruff. What if declarer had singleton Spade-smallQ? Then, that is bad luck! Bother!

So, our decision to pass or double 5Heart-small proved correct. “The 5 level” did “belong to the opponents". Many such decisions are hard to get right.

A Relook at the Bidding

We called Friday’s article “Valuing Voids” and we can look at the North and East hands and see the positive way that took place.  5 points for a void once we have a trump fit. That gives North 12 points, almost enough or maybe enough to raise directly to 4Spade-small over 1Spade-small. East’s void gave them a 19 count and their 5Heart-small bid was both very wise and entirely necessary as 4Spade-small was unbeatable.

Such deals are both really exciting and yet can be really frustrating at times. Don’t worry, as you will start to make the right decisions more of the time with experience.

Richard Solomon

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